July 27, 2006

Hot dogs

We return to the world of high (and some low) fashion, where the Project Runway designers are preparing to meet Heidi. Katie interviews that she's sad Malan had to leave, but she's glad she wasn't eliminated as it wasn't her design. Again, I think she has every right to feel that way.

Heidi emerges to cryptically tell the designers that their next challenge will involve designing around one of the hottest fashion accessories, and that Tim will have further details for them. So mysterious! Will it be a dickey? We won't find out now, because it's time to deal with the models. Up on the block - Kayne's winning model or Malan's loser (who did not in fact where the losing design - that was Katie's model). Kayne channels Nick by staying faithful to his model. So Moon Yung is sent home, and no, she's not related to Woody Allen. Heidi's parting words hint that they will be up early the next day.

And indeed at around 6 a.m. Laura is first to find a note from Tim with instructions on where to meet him in Central Park. During this section we see a few of the designers in bed. It's entirely possible that Michael sleeps in the nude, because he's showing a lot of leg! In an unfortunate turn of events, we see Vincent tossing and turning on his comforter. Ick.

As the designers await Tim's arrival, Laura makes the bizarre guess that maybe it's horses. Yep, because jodhpurs are so hot right now. *eye roll* In fact Tim finally comes in walking 13 little dogs (toy breeds, so they really are little). It's hilarious because Tim looks just a bit nervous or possibly mortified. He explains that the hot accessory now are little dogs (think Paris Hilton). They each will choose a dog to be "a muse" and then design an outfit for their model that is inspired by the dog. But that's not all - they need to do something for the dog as well! Awesome. They all pick dogs pretty quickly, although Laura isn't thrilled as she's not a dog person. Alison and Bradley end up switching dogs, which makes sense because they end up with ones closer to their own personalities - she gets the poodle, he gets the shaggy terrier.

Upon return to Parsons, the designers get 30 minutes to sketch, and take pictures and measurements for their pooches. Tim encourages them to think of a story about who their woman is, and why she has chosen this dog and this outfit. Most notable here is that Robert's little black dog (a Schipperke, I think?) is not at all interested in sitting still. And Laura is exasperated with her Pomeranian which finds her sketchbook to be a great place to stand. From there it's onto Mood, where we see that Robert has picked a pink tweed. Laura says something that Kayne takes as an implication that he has bad taste. We must have missed the comment, because that's not what I heard at all. Methinks the gay doth protest too much.

And now it's time to sew, drape and cut (F1). At this point it's obvious that a few of the designers are getting much more of a hoot out of this challenge than others - Alison is all giggly. And Vincent - well, Vincent has made a little cap for his Yorkie and is clearly insane as he laughs himself silly. Seriously - who stole his medication? But perhaps the only thing crazier is Angela's story for her model. She has decided the woman is an English school mistress who is running an arts summer camp in Paris, and is wearing this outfit for a birthday celebration of the mascot (can't identify the breed - looks like a Pekingnese mix to me). So she's creating these little rosettes out of colored fabrics. To put on...you guessed it...a bubble skirt. HATE. Also we see that Bradley is swimming in indecision - he has decided to scrap his whole concept and start fresh the next day.

So we return the next morning for more F1. This is when we learn that Keith is starting to become a bit of a prick, and in particular is pissing off Laura (and Michael, it appears). It's hard to tell what they're arguing about, but it looks like taking over a sewing machine and/or thread that another designer hasn't finished with. Anyway, whatever the problem is, he's all cocky and jerkfaced about it, so he probably was in the wrong.

When Tim comes in late in the day to check up, as usual we start to figure out the fate of some of the designers. He really likes how Alison is working on a modern cohesive outfit. He thinks that Uli has selected a challenging print, which he didn't like in Mood, but she made it work. With Katie he's concerned that the dress is just too simple. She says that she was thinking about making a hoodie to match, and he quite simply says, "Do that." And of course with Angela, he doesn't get it at all. She tells him that ridiculous story, and he's even more confused. I think he's given up on her (haven't we all?). Tim seems amused by Vincent, who is so clearly into his idea. And then with Bradley, he expresses concern over the top. He basically says - you need to do that over. So once again, Bradley is starting the next day without an outfit or even a clear concept. Oh, and it just happens that it will be his birthday. Wow - did you accidentally dip into the "magic" brownies Mr. Granola? He seriously tells Keith that if he's not proud of his garment, he's inclined to give up and send his model down the runway naked. Now THAT would be interesting. "My story is that she is a nudist, shunning fashion just like her dog."

Day 3, and the designers need to get ready for their models. Bradley? Still doing a mess of F1. In come the models, and Bradley tells his model that he's not sure he has anything ready. She says, "I don't want to go home, either." This seems to spark something in him, making him realize that it's not just his own fate at stake. (I was reminded of how Heather challenged Santino a bit last season.) He sends her off to make-up, and furiously gets something prepared. It turns out he still has the top from yesterday that Tim didn't like, and will be using that. Normally we don't see much in the hair & make-up section, but we do see Alison ask to have her model's hair really high in a big poof.

Runway! Vera Wang is still sitting in for Michael Kors. And the guest judge for no apparent reason is Ivanka Trump, first daughter of NYC. I don't think she looks a bit like her father, which is a good thing. Actually she looks more like Nina Garcia.

First up we have Alison's model with the affore-mentioned tall poofy hair, walking the poodle (get it?). The dress is a modern sleek white cocktail dress, but with a jacket over it that's more business-like (I think it's leather). The poodle has a matching little white leather jacket. It's definitely well done.

Laura has gone with a classic hourglass tweed suit that's a bit more open in the chest area, revealing a simple tan top. The edges of the collar and sleeves are adorned with brown frizzy angora. Her dog has a little tweed wrap and a collar adorned with the same angora. The design comes off well and again demonstrates her style - Upper East Side chic.

Uli's design again shows her taste for a halter dress with a high waist. The fabric is a mix of white, yellow, red, and brown. Also there is a small jacket in brown that looks loose and comfortable. And as a wink to the judges, her pug is wearing a little coat in a giraffe print, with letters stitched on one side that spell out, "Hi ladies." Oh, and the model has a simple headband in the same giraffe print. It's all very cute and extremely wearable. What's impressive is how she really pays attention to the print - which direction it's going in over various parts of the garment. Love!

Robert has a loose-fitting cream top with a tied collar, and a matching tie at the waist. The skirt is a simple miniskirt in the pink tweed. The dog has a simple coat and a bow in her hair using the tweed. I said to Scott it's exactly the kind of thing you'd see Miranda of Sex and the City in.

Michael has gone with a more complex design in a golden fabric, where various straps criss-cross over the chest area, leading down to a form-fitting skirt. Her Yorkie has a simple coat in the same fabric and a clever leash also made of the fabric. It's an interesting look that I enjoyed - perfect for a middle-aged woman that understands good fashion.

Kayne has taken another page from Nick's book by taking a wild colored print (yellow with blue, pink, orange and brown) and turning it into a skirt and matching wide headband. The top is a simple white halter, and a black belt separates them. But to help us forget the Nick inspiration, she also has on a full black raincoat that's lined with the print fabric. The poodle is in the same black vinyl, and has a little tied collar in the print. It's definitely cute, but I still feel like I've seen it before. Of course, he has immunity, so what does he care?

Jeffrey's she-male model has a high-waisted halter dress with a couple colors around the bust (black, brown, silver) and the main dress is 3 folds of a cream-silver fabric. The little Corgi (so cute) has a jacket similarly styled - the cream-silver bordered with the other colors. It's not bad, but not exceptional.

Katie's dress is indeed simple - very pale green with a couple darker layers over the bust, and spaghetti straps. She says that she decided to ditch the hoodie in the final hours. The dog does have a hoodie however in the same celadon green.

I don't quite get Bonnie's look - it's an extremely simple black knee-length dress, but over that is a large white coat in a soft fabric, and her English boxer has a coat in that fabric as well. The model is sporting big platform black boots. The coat comes off almost right away, so then you just see the black dress, to which I was like, "So?"

Bradley's look - *sigh*. Over a plain jersey skirt is a coppery material that is sleveless and shapeless. The little terrier just has a tie around his neck of the jersey fabric. Too bad.

Keith has taken a rich orange and red print and made a halter dress with an interesting scalloped collar that juts out around the neck - sort of Victorian. But the dog? The dog has nothing except his collar. This is because Keith eschews that part of the challenge. Jerkwad.

Vincent - dear lord, it's dumb. Simple black dress (or should I say simpler, it's worse than Bonnie's) over black leggings. LEGGINGS, people. She has a little black cap. The dog is the one in style, sporting a polka dot coat and a white cap. I also note that crazy Vincent appears to be obsessed with sunglasses.

And then Angela's outfit makes me want to vomit. Do I have to describe it? Oh, FINE. It's a grayish shiny halter (the straps lined in a floral print) and a layered purple bubble skirt with all sorts of crazy "flowers" applied to the bottom. The dog is similarly tortured. Someone call the ASPCA!

After tallying, Kayne, Robert, Laura, Michael, Jeffrey, Vincent (really?) and Bonnie are all safe. First the judges address Uli. They also love the use of the print fabric, and ask to see it without the jacket - that's when we see the back has 4 radiating straps in the giraffe print, which is even more impressive. Alison tells them that her story is the woman is a Japanese businesswoman preparing for a work-related trip. What the judges like most is that she didn't just pay attention to the dress and the dog, but also to the hairstyle. With Bradley, Vera Wang says she...likes it? What? Nina actually says "I'd photograph that for Elle." What is going on here? Someone get Michael Kors back to instill some order to the universe! This is what happens when Nina goes unchecked in the presence of The Wang, I guess. Because you now realize this means that Bradley is actually top 3 and not bottom 3. Crazy world...I think this picture of The Wang (which came to me from Pink Is The New Blog) is appropos for the moment:

Katie of course is ripped on for going too simple. They like the doggie hoodie, and wish she'd done something like that for the model. Also Nina notes that the hem looks unfinished. Angela's outfit is of course a hot mess, and they say as much. She tells them that cockamamie story, and Heidi says it's almost worse, because the dress doesn't even match that. But they do say it was constructed well. How can you tell with all the extraneous crap? And then Keith - for you see, Keith is actually now bottom 3, because he did nothing for the dog. He gets into a back-and-forth with Heidi about that. Nina basically says if he's going to dish it out, they'll return in-kind. Heidi then attacks him, saying she recognizes that the dog collar (which he says he created) is in fact just a bracelet off the Macy accessory wall. He says he added a strip of fabric over the closure. WEAK.

The judges deliberate, and although she seems intelligent, Ivanka is pretty much a follower. It's obvious the winner will come down to either Alison or Uli, and either Katie or Angela will go.

The 6 designers return, and Heidi announces the winner of the challenge is...Uli! Hooray! And she will be immune next week. Alison has a bit of the bitchface, so clearly she thought she had it in the (doggie) bag. But she's in, and so is Bradley (happy birthday, indeed). And despite being an ass, Keith's dress was still strong, so he's in. Thus we're left with simple unfinished work from Katie, or "well-tailored" crap from Angela. But clearly the judges hate us and want to burn our retinas a bit longer, because Angela is in. So poor too young Katie is sent packing. Good-bye, Miss Sporty!

Next week - DRAMA. One of the designers is going to be kicked off the show! I've heard a rumor, which I will impart to you. Don't read the next paragraph if you don't want to be (potentially) spoiled!

Word on the street (OK, the internet) is that the photographs that were shown in the affore-mentioned ass' portfolio were not in fact his own and were just duplications of other designers' work. So could it be his bravado is all false and he'll be sent packing? Wait and see!

July 24, 2006

All pain, no gain

After this past week's episode of Project Runway, I did stay on to watch the premiere of Work Out, to see if it was any good. Was it? Well, let's just say I wasn't in a rush to get this post up.

My main motivation in watching it was that I knew the main person on the show (Jackie) is a lesbian and was recently on the cover of The Advocate. Alas, I can not say that having a lesbian is enough to keep me watching.

The premise is a bit odd. Following the supposed success of Blow Out, they are featuring an exclusive fitness center that is headed by a big personality. Jackie has a couple trainers who have been on staff with her for awhile, and several new hires. They are pretty much all being constantly reviewed to see "if they have what it takes." Jackie also has a feisty and constantly jealous Brazilian girlfriend.

On the upside, there is a straight guy (Brian) who is quite attractive, but he's the bad boy who's probably destined to be fired mid-season for ratings. Brian's big star client is Jody Watley. If she wasn't such a has-been, that might actually be impressive. There's also an extremely built straight-acting guy (Doug) who is actually gay. Of course, you only see him for about 2 minutes in the first episode.

And then there's Rebecca. I thought her face looked a bit familiar in the opening credits, but it was not until she opened her fat mouth that I knew who she was. She's the same Rebecca that was teamed with mama's boy Adam on season 6 of The Amazing Race - the horror! And just to put the final nail in her coffin, who is her big client for the premiere? Victoria of the loathsome Jonathan & Victoria from the same season. When I saw that I vomited in my mouth a little.

From that point on, this show was dead to me. It did not get more interesting, and the rest of the season appears to involve a lot of bitchy fights and drunken sexual innuendo a'la The Real World. I don't need to see that.

I'll be sticking to my Will & Grace reruns on Lifetime instead, thank you very much.

July 20, 2006

The answer is "world peace"

And so it is time to rejoin the world where taste only sometimes reigns - another episode of Project Runway!

When we last left our designers they were registering no recognition that Stacey had left. Heck, it's not like I even noticed, really. As the designers get ready for their day, you'll note that the apartments have now been redecorated, so clearly the torture of sleeping on exposed bed springs was just temporary.

The designers then gather to meet Heidi and get their assignment for the week. But first it's model selection time. This goes super fast, so I assume there is either no drama with models this season, or they decided it's boring. I guess it kinda was. Anywho, Candace (who modeled for Katie last week) gets the boot.

Heidi tells them that they will be designing for a fashion icon. I'm sure Robert was hoping this would be a repeat of the Barbie challenge, but it turns out that it's Miss USA. I remember when I used to watch those paegeants every year with a fervor. MAN, was I gay. Anywho, I haven't seen them in a long time, so I don't know this woman, but her name is Tara, whom I understand is the second shortest Miss USA ever. The designers will create a dress for Tara, and the winning design will be her dress for the evening gown portion of the Miss Universe paegant. In other words, big stakes! Tara tells them that she's looking for something that's a bit more "red carpet," backless and she'd like to see earth tones - no white.

They then move to the workroom and Tim has them gather to get more details. First, they will each get 30 minutes to sketch and then present their ideas to Tara. She will select half of them, and those folks will each select a partner to work with for the challenge. Early teaming - drama! So they all go off to sketch. But Angela gives herself the early title of Most Annoying by harassing Kayne, saying that she'd love to work with him, blah, blah, she could show him another viewpoint, etc. You will be shocked to hear that this irritated him and made him disinclined to work with her. I should say so.

The designers present their ideas to Tara individually. This all goes fast - Malan has an hourglass figure, Michael calls his "goddess-like", Laura will do something architectual and sleek, Kayne wants the emphasis to be on her instead of the dress. And Angela...oh, she "doesn't sketch." She asks Tara some ridiculous questions, and you can tell that the beauty queen is thinking, "If this was the isolation booth, I would lose my shit."

Tara returns to the workroom and makes her selections - Laura, Jeffrey, Keith, Malan, Vincent, Uli and...Kayne. You could see him sweating a bit. I mean, if he does poorly on this challenge, he might as well go back to Norman, Oklahoma and board up his store! So then it's time to pick partners. Laura is first and picks Michael. Interesting! Jeffrey takes Alison, Uli takes Bonnie, Kayne takes Robert, Keith takes Bradley, Malan takes Katie and that leaves Vincent with Angela. But hilariously he says, "Well I'll be happy to take Alison!" Which is not her name. Cuckoo bird!

Which means it's shoping time at Mood! Hooray! I have no idea why I'm fascinated with shopping at this fabric store, but I am. Like, I kinda want to go in their and take pictures of...bolts of cloth, I guess. Shut up! It's not like it's an unHEALTHY obsession.

And so now it's time for cutting, sewing and holding material up to forms (F1). Malan has a brief interview where he tells a story about how his mother basically threw out his early sketches and told him not to do that anymore. Poor tortured face accent Malan!

As everyone starts to F1, Laura interviews that she chose Michael because she thought working with someone with such a different design aesthetic could challenge her ideas and help her do better. I'm sorry, ma'am - but having rational intelligence on a reality show? You must be in the wrong place. Meanwhile we see that Kayne and Robert are getting along like two queens in a martini bar. But Angela and Vincent? Well, they aren't. Basically he won't listen to her, at all. But also she's not really offering suggestions - just saying she doesn't like the design. I can't really take sides here, I'll just say they are both crazy and suck. At one point Vincent actually says, "I need you to stay 3 feet away from me right now." All the other designers roll their eyes and F1.

The next day it's more of the same - Vincent and Angela bicker, everyone else just F1's. Tim is pretty complimentary all around except for Vincent's dress and Malan's. The feeling is that Malan's design is too heavy and complex. Then it's time to move onto the model fittings. At this point it's revealed that Malan and Katie actually hadn't hemmed the gown yet, so while the model is wearing it, they cut. And they cut it too short. Eek! Katie tries to get Malan to make some changes, but he gently says he won't. Katie then says, "If we're in the bottom group - you have to defend this, then."

Runway! Jeffrey/Alison's dress is awful, I think. It has a simple strap top that's asymmetrically covered by another fabric, and the skirt is a darker brown. It looks like a hot mess. Very patchy - not attractive. Kayne/Robert used a shimmery purple organza that under the lights actually looks earthy. The straps are made of rhinestones for shimmer. My concerns are that it's very form fitting and doesn't seem to move well. Also the bottom is very full and frilly. Still, it's lovely. Keith/Bradley have a simple empire waist gown that I think is incredibly dull. Laura/Michael went very simple - an elegant backless number that's covered in sparkles. It turns out the color was actually nude, but under the lights it looked white, which I think counted against them. Malan/Katie have a one-strap dress that is very full of rugging (sp?) and is very dark brown. I see the concept, but it just doesn't work for a paegant. Uli/Bonnie have a very modern look that to me still harkens back to something Grecian. The neck strap and belt are twisted fabric, while the full skirt opens slightly at the front as the model walks to reveal layers of other earthy shades. I love it. And finally is Vincent/Angela's dress which is in light green with a low V neck and bizarre folded epaulets on the shoulders. It sucks.

The judging panel this week is sans Michael Kors, so Vera Wang is here. WOW! They give Laura/Michael, Keith/Bradley and Jeffrey/Alison a pass onto next week. In the discussion/question period, it's clear that they like Kayne/Robert and Uli/Bonnie's designs. Malan/Katie's is heavy on top and unfinished on the bottom (seriously - you can see stringy bits hanging off where it was obviously cut recently). Vincent/Angela's is just off-the-mark. But I'm a little taken aback that they actually like elements of Vincent's design. Eww! Vera Wang, please don't make me lose respect for you. Asked who should take fault for their team, Katie points to Malan. Malan graciously admits that it's his design and his vision, so he would agree. Well, that's nice. But of course Vincent and Angela just point fingers at each other. He calls working with her a nightmare. She says she doesn't want her name attached to that dress. "Your honor, in the case of Crazy vs. Crazy, we find for the plantiff."

The judges deliberate and we return to learn that it is not a double-elimination, thankfully. Robert and Bonnie are both in. And the winner is...Kayne! You know he's going to live off of this fantasy moment for the rest of his jeweled sash life. Uli's design I guess was just a bit too modern, but of course she's still in. Katie is also in, which is good - she didn't want to be eliminated for a design that wasn't hers. Understandable.

So we're left with Malan, Vincent and Angela. And of course the next in is M...wha? Vincent? Wow - those judges sure do like their crazy. I guess he's there for Jade-type entertainment. At this point we can fully see what Angela is wearing and OH GOD it's hideous. A jean jacket on top, with this big hot pink puffball skirt over black striped tights and huge black orthopedic shoes. I'm screaming at the TV to eliminate her because my eyes are burning! And Heidi says she is o...wha? She's in? Nooooooooooo!!!! That blows! So instead Malan of the face accent and goofy laugh is sent packing. He's very sad, and I'm shocked to discover that I am a little bit also. But mostly because he's not Vincent or Angela.

Next week - the designers are working around a popular fashion accessory. Any guesses as to what it is? Tim Gunn assures us on his podcast that we'll never guess in a million years!

July 14, 2006

In other news...

This from Tim Gunn's own blog about Project Runway:

Michael surprised even me by his exclusive use of coffee filters. It was a “Wow!” Muslin was available to all of the designers for the purpose of prototyping and, if necessary, infrastructure. In Michael’s case, muslin was essential for the latter. His dress was sublime and I was surprised that he didn’t stay on the runway as one of the top three.

The fact that he agrees with me means:

1. I was right.

2. I continue to love him above all others forever.

Thanks, Silver Fox!

This just in

According to a source that I personally consider reliable, the robotica host of Top Chef will not be back for next season!

July 13, 2006

The best source material

Hooray! Another season of Project Runway is officially underway. It made me all tingly with excitement, and delivered really well. I loved it! I've decided to move to a format of the 1-page mini-recap like I did for Top Model, so for those who miss an episode you'll get more details and plenty of snarky commentary. This first one will be a bit longer, as we have to introduce all the contestants. So here we go!

Preceding the episode there was a casting special, and there isn't a whole lot to say about what happened there. They met some "designers," narrowed it to 40 semi-finalists, and then Tim and the judges picked 15 finalists from that pool. Helping along the way were Chloe, Santino, Danny V and Nick from last season. Their lives of late can be summed up as - "I can charge more now!" "I'm working on a collection." "I'm taking my time." (?) "I showed a collection, was on NBC and I'm still teaching!" Nick is still my boyfriend 4evah.

Also they interspersed some follow-up on a few season 1 folks - Jay, Austin, Kara Saun and Wendy. Their lives are like this - "I'm doing a collection, stop bitching at me!" "I am doing gorgeous bridal gowns." "I am so busy, everyone wants me to do things for them." "I have a collection that actually might not suck." Bravo clearly still thinks Wendy is evil incarnate.

So from there we move seamlessly (pun intended) into the premiere. We see all the contestants arrive, and recap the backgrounds we heard during the casting special. Here's your season 3 cast, including my snap judgements of them at this point:

Vincent used to be a designer, gave it all up, and now is trying to do it all over again. He cashed in his retirement savings to do this, and he will remind you of it incessantly. Also, he is unattractive and crazy.

Alison is a little pixie blonde who created a pseudo-line, and then photographed herself in the outfits as a sort of pictorial storyline. She's cute, but I wonder if she should be a model instead? Granted, she's too short, but there has to be a market out there for that, right?

Kayne (bless his heart) owns a shop that caters to pageant girls and prom dresses. So his life is one giant sequin! In his bio video he does a brief Mommy Dearest bit which almost endears me to him.

Laura is a stylish architect (age 61!) who has 5 kids but thinks that's no excuse for not looking good. She sews all her own clothes. I have a feeling if I met her at a party (without the kids) we'd have a great conversation.

Jeffrey has a line of clothes that cater to rock star types, and he is more than willing to rattle off the list to tell you who. (One of them is J-Lo, which is not impressive to me.) He has a huge tattoo across the FRONT of his neck which makes it very hard to look at him.

Bradley is granola earthy-crunchy. Sadly from his bio and the whole show I have no sense of who he is other than he's a bit...off.

Robert has the most interesting background, as he worked for Isaac Mizrahi, and now designs clothes for Barbie. Just like Nick! I think he's kinda cute, but I'm continually distracted by the sizeable mole on his right forehead.

Angela lives on a farm in Ohio, and you can tell she's quite sick of that. Her design style appears to be a modern derivative of quilting. She may also be a bit granola herself.

Uli was born and raised in Germany which means she fulfills our cool accent quotient for the season. I instantly get an "I like her" vibe.

Katherine (the youngest, at 25) is a snowboarder, so her design style is of course pretty sporty. Considering there's a real market for that, I'm sure she can do well commercially, but I'm not confident she'll do well all season.

Keith is immensely pretentious and self-absorbed. He's a menswear designer that has never even made a dress before. Tim likes something about him, but I can't imagine what (unless it's a physical attractiveness thing).

Malan auditioned twice before, has a manical laugh and ridiculously fake English accent. I instantly hate him.

Bonnie is a spunky California girl whose main experience is in althetic footwear. She seems nice, but destined to get eaten alive by Nina. (I hope.)

Stacey is the producers' attempt to get another Wendy Pepper, although they couldn't be more different. Stacey is Ivy League-educated, but doesn't have much design experience.

Michael is perhaps the most anachronistic person in the cast, as his designs have mostly been in the street fashion/hip hop realm. Still, his personality is pretty strong, and he gets in on the strength of Chloe's gut feeling.

All the designers meet Tim and Heidi on the roof for a champagne toast, and then Heidi gives the details for the first challenge. They need to race back to their rooms and pull any source material from the room itself - curtains, rugs, you name it. They need to create a design that shows "who [they] are as a designer." And they do just that - but to the nth degree. These people leave NOTHING but a few bed frames and springs. Scary!

The designers all get to work, and this part is hard to recap. There is sewing, there is cutting, there is holding up material on a dress form. In fact, going forward this season we'll call that "F1". Tim expresses concern with Stacey's design by doing the "stare for awhile and say nothing" patented Tim Gunn move. They break for the night at 1 a.m. They are disraught to find that the apartments have not been refurbished, so they have to sleep in the spartan settings they left that morning.

The next day F1. It is revealed that Stacey can't figure out the sewing machines, so she is hand sewing everything, which seems foolhardy at best. Shouldn't there by like a typing test equivalent for this show? ("Only 56 stiches per minute - sorry, you're out.") Tim lets them know that the models will be arriving soon for fittings. So we don't get to really meet the models this time, as they are quickly dressed, hair done, makeup done. It is notable here that Vincent has made the unfortunate choice to add a hat for his outfit, made from a small wicker basket. Which he's adorning with small metal chains. Ick. Also of note, the Banana Republic accessory wall has become the Macy's accessory wall. Curious...

At the runway, Heidi strides out in a lovely black dress that hangs nicely. Now I remember what she looks like not pregnant! She announces the prizes, and again I note that the Banana Republic mentorship is no more. Where did things go wrong, my wonderful Banana? The judges are also there - Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge Kate Spade (!). The show begins and I'm so excited I almost jump off the couch!

I'm sure I'll get the order wrong, so I'll just tell you in the order I see them on the website (alphabetical). Click here to see all the fashions. First up is Angela, and I right away have to apologize that I don't know all the right fashion terms, so you'll have to bear with me. Angela appears to have taken the ruffles from a blanket and used it to make a two-strip top bound by a belt made of something metal. It's hard to notice because we're distracted by this enormous bunch of fake flowers she's carrying. Not working for me.

Allison kept it simple, using some linens to make a well-constructed mini-dress with cap sleeves, but made a more complicated gold chain accessory that covers the front. It's fine, and I know she'll be put through.

Bonnie's dress makes no sense to me. It's rather patchwork, but the worst part is the bodice which is about a foot out in front of the model's actual chest. Bonnie voiceovers that she "hoped she wouldn't pop out of the top." I'd be more worried that she slips out of the whole damn dress! I assume Bonnie is bottom 3.

Brandon I guess wanted the homeless look, as the dress is just a comforter wrapped around her with a shawl made of one of the natty wool blankets they give you in dormitory guest housing. It looks awful, and I assume he's bottom 3.

Jeffrey's model struts out with a small mohawk and throws feathers up in the air from her giant oversized sleeves. She's wearing a jacket that doesn't match the dress beneath. Also she may have once been a "he", if you know what I mean, and I think that you do.

I like Katherine's because it matches her sportiness - the dress is a layered aqua shower curtain but over that is a large hooded coat made from a comforter. It's innovative.

On the way out I like Kayne's dress. The bodice is made from a bright orange rug, below that is some black leather at the midriff, and it has a medium length beneath it from a simple sheet. But when she turns around there's some kind of giant hook thing on the back that makes no sense to me at all.

Keith found a navy bedsheet, and just used that to make a medium length sleeveless cocktail dress. It's certainly lovely, but really just looks like a dress, so it's not really innovative.

Laura's is excellent - a coat dress that has a high fur collar and fur around the sleeves that she got from a rug. The bottom is adorned with some metal drops that came from a chandelier.

I think Malan was on the right track - he took a chenille throw blanket and made a high-collared jacket and matching bag. Unfortunately the fit is pretty bad, and it makes his model look like an old woman.

Michael shocked me by creating my favorite dress - it's layers of frilly coffe filters! It's so simple, but very cute and innovative. Of course ScottE points out that if she gets wet, all is lost!

Robert's dress coming down is pretty dull - a simple white dress with a red sash, and metal chains covering the chest like necklaces. But when she turns around you see that the red continues into straps that form two bows. It's not bad, but I'm definitely not a bow person.

Stacey's is just layers of sheer white fabric, which is tied with a large gold link chain. Apparently the bottom is so sheer, Stacey created a small pair of boy shorts underneath.

Uli's dress is a simple long sun dress, but she's adorned it with a bright yellow-green beaded curtain that ties around the neck and waist. It's fun.

And then...oh lord...it's Vincent's outfit. This is a mauve-grey dress with gaudy pockets, but you'd barely notice because of the hideous hat and the ginormous sunglasses she has on. Hideous!

The judges deliberate. First Heidi pulls out those that are neither top 3 nor bottom 3 - Angela, Allison, Bonnie, Brandon, Katherine, Kayne, Malan, Michael and Uli. This is surprising, as I assumed that Michael would do better and Bonnie was in trouble! The models for the remaining few come back out, and there is discussion. They make Vincent's model take off the hat, and suddenly you notice the dress isn't totally awful. They love Keith and don't even mention his lack of innovation. Stacey gets ripped on for the little fake underwear and that the top doesn't fit well.

The judges talk again, and then it's time to face the music. The big drumbeat of DOOM! First Laura is in. I thought she'd win, so I was surprised. No, instead Keith wins, for the first dress he's ever made. I guess that's good? Robert (obviously the runner-up) is in.

So we're left with Jeffrey, Stacey and Vincent. And then Vincent is in. What?!?!? But the basket hat! It sucked so bad! Maybe Michael Kors is getting senile. Thus it comes down to Jeffrey who did too much, and Stacey who didn't do enough (covering up). Quite rightly, Stacey is eliminated. Although her dress was fine, I can not abide by her lack of sewing ability. Jeffrey and his freakish neck tattoo lives to see another day. Auf wiedersehen, Stacey!

Coming up this season - drama! Yay! And Tim says someone is "in clear violations of the rules." Scandal!

See you next week!

July 11, 2006

The dog eat dog days of summer

With summer comes a time where television gets decidedly lowbrow and we indulge ourselves in guilty pleasures. What will you be watching this year?

I know a good number of my friends are obsessed with So You Think You Can Dance? on Fox. I've seen a bit, and it was actually pretty good, but I haven't allowed myself to be sucked in as yet.

I did break down however and watch the first episode for Big Brother: All-Stars. You see, my obsession with BB is not really the show itself. The show is often a more boring version of Survivor and nearly as predictable. What is fun is watching their antics, openly mocking them, and dishing the dirt. I love and adore the CBS internet chat show, "House Calls"! It is hosted by the wonderful Gretchen Massey. It also used to be co-hosted by Marcellas (of season 3), but now he's a contestant again, so Gretchen is flying solo this time. I won't give you a direct link, but if you dig in the archives for the show, you might recognize me calling in once!

The All-Star season is stacked with people I detest (Mike "Boogie" and Alison) as well as those I love (Kaysar and Marcellas). The main drama for the early season is likely to center around the proponderence of cast members from season 6, who could be a strong voting bloc if they stick together (which isn't likely).

But amidst all the trash this summer, something VERY GOOD is starting VERY SOON. That's right - season 3 of Project Runway begins at 10 pm ET tomorrow! Don't miss it! (The hour preceding will be a casting special.) I can hardly wait. Nina Garcia, make them wither with your comments! Tim Gunn, make me love you all over again! Heidi Klum Seal, remind us what you look like when you're not pregnant!

You can of course count on me to provide commentary and recaps for the duration of the season, with a slight hiccup next week when I'm traveling for work.

Are you in, or are you out?

July 06, 2006

I cry bulls***!

This morning the Emmy nominations were announced.

Apparently there are some new nomination regulations, which confuse me, but are designed to "spread the wealth" a little bit and give shows on smaller networks a fighting chance. Or something.

Now don't get me wrong - there were some welcome and great suprises. I can't wait to watch Chandra Wilson of Grey's Anatomy (LOVE) face off against Sandra Oh. Win-win! And newcomer Jaime Pressley so deserved her nomination for My Name is Earl. Also the reality competition category is great with The Amazing Race, Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway all scoring nominations.

But here's the horrible part.

Not a SINGLE major nomination for Lost. Not for series, not for actor, not for actress, and no supporting people either.


For a show like Desperate Housewives which seriously dipped in quality this season, I understand. But Lost maintained its level of excitement, complexity and fine performances.

If this is what the new nomination system means, I say we go back to the old way! (Any system that gives William Shatner a nomination but stiffs Terry O'Quinn is SERIOUSLY flawed.)

What an ironic tagline:

Hot fun in the summertime

I've had a lot on my mind I wanted to post about in the past week, but let me start with a couple quick movie reviews.

On Saturday we went with the Hyattsville Boys to see The Devil Wears Prada. It stars Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.

In a word - delicious.

The reason to see this movie is Meryl Streep. She is the ultimate bitch, saying and doing things that make you positively cringe! (The best comparison I could come up with was the feeling I had watching Meet the Parents - everything that happens makes you feel so uncomfortable, but you also relish every moment.) And it's not like Meryl is out there chewing up scenery or anything - she's just quietly cool and calculated. Thanks to her performance (which is certainly Oscar-worthy), this film is destined to become a camp classic in the gay community!

Anne Hathaway is also terrific, showing that she has grown up and matured as an actress, fulfilling the promise I saw in her after Brokeback Mountain. She really holds her own agains Meryl Streep, which is no small feat.

And can we talk about the clothes? FAB-ulous!

This was a great movie, and I highly recommend it. There are some minor flaws, but I feel it deserves a solid A.

Then on Tuesday we saw Superman Returns. It's the kind of movie that's pretty hard to screw up, and I'm happy to say director Brett Ratner (who did X-Men 2, which I loved) didn't fail us. Granted he didn't have to try too hard - I mean, have you SEEN Superman 3? Stinky!

Brandon Routh easily steps into the role of Superman. He plays it a bit differently than Christopher Reeve, which is certainly a good thing.

Kate Bosworth is good as Lois Lane, which is nice. (I never really enjoyed Margot Kidder.) Kevin Spacey is strong as maniac Lex Luthor, and Parker Posey (as always) is great as his girlfriend. But I have to say - one of Luthor's thugs was one of these two guys - it was pretty hard to take him seriously.

Now for the criticism. First of all, you MUST suspend disbelief if you're going to enjoy it. If Lois actually survived all the things that happened to her in this movie, she would be in intensive care for months.

Also the movie "chokes the kitten" a bit too often. EVERY time Superman does something major (like lift a boat, a plane, etc.) he is empowered by the mighty theme song of John Williams. I started to wonder if that was in fact the source of his powers and not the sun!

Still, for a summer popcorn flick it's a bit long but great fun. I think it deserves a B+ for restoring a stalled franchise.